Imagine if Jesus had had a rider as he entered the manger: “All straw must be shredded and refined so it is soft as feathers, lowing cattle must low lullabies, the temperature of the manger must be between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit at all times.” He sent his disciples out with the very opposite of a rider when he encouraged them to eat whatever was set before them. His model of incarnation, coming to earth with no demands, needs to guide our forays and our stays in foreign lands.
On one level, this blog post is just a reflection on the need for good missionary etiquette, a helpful word for short-term teams and long-term guests in other nations, whether in business or ministry. But I also think about the riders I put on God, the demands I make and expectations I have for how God will answer my prayers, how I want my life to unfold, and the things I look for as signs of success in a given day. I think about the riders I put on my husband and friends: I will give myself to you if you prove your love by these five actions. My hope is that we have not entered homes or ministries with riders attached, but no doubt we have inadvertently done so. Our friends’ stories and the extreme incidents of riders here, from Wikipedia, serve as cautionary tales for me.
- Van Halen requested in the technical rider that a bowl of M&Ms be provided in their dressing room with the brown ones removed. Failure to do so would not only mean that the band would not perform, but the venue would still have to pay the full fee. The objective of this wasn't due to any excesses on the part of the band, but was a method to determine how much attention to detail the crew at a local venue paid to the requests specified in the rider. Should the bowl be absent, or if brown M&Ms were present, it would give band members reason to suspect other, legitimate, technical and safety issues were also being performed poorly or were outright overlooked. David Lee Roth stated in his autobiography that this request was made as a result of faulty workmanship at a venue on an earlier tour which nearly cost the life of a member of Van Halen's road crew. He added that at one venue where he found brown M&Ms, the management's failure to read weight requirements in the rider resulted in the band's equipment sinking through the floor and causing over $80,000 of damage.
- Queen requested a mud wrestling ring and wrestlers outside the dressing room for post-performance entertainment.
- Elton John required that his dressing room be kept at "60 °F in summer and 70 °F in winter."
- Laibach requested for a 1980s tour that the venue provide a deer head with antlers to use as a stage prop.
- Lady Gaga requested for her performance at Radio 1's Big Weekend that her dressing room be covered in Union Flag bunting, Pimm's and fish and chips with battered Mars bars to be served and, most unusually, her staff to speak in Cockney accents for the entire event.
- Michael Bublé who is a big hockey fan since childhood, requires "one local team hockey puck" in his dressing room as part of his rider contract to concert promoters in every city.